National Properties Limited (NPL) is paying to have slip brochures inserted in our newspapers. The heading of the brochure says “LOOKING FOR A VIEW AT AN UNBEATABLE PRICE?” The problem as I see it is that the land lots have been cherry picked before the sale offer. Someone, an insider, perhaps in the plural, has taken advantage of the Vincentian people and in particular the Bequians, by pre-buying the best lots. I am not sure, in fact I don’t know, if any of the ULP executive or any lawyers have been involved in this cherry picking, we will have to wait and see. It was something that Patrick Ferrari had hintedly (a new word of my making) written in his weekly columns in “The News” newspaper on a few occasions in the past that set my mind in action to investigate what he was hinting at.
I suppose if these insiders paid the same price as everyone else, picking the choice lots may seem a right, even as a perk of the trade. I do not know if they paid the same price, or a lesser price, but the choice lots, those water side plots should have fetched a far better price than those which are in a lesser position, some of which are in decidedly inferior positions. Remember everything in a food store is not the same price, smoked salmon is more expensive than jacks or robbin. I suppose that must be the same with these land lots, perhaps choice lots should be as much as double that of inferior lots.
Ferrari is very respective about how he exposes his old acquaintances, old friends and old families. He is even respective of the Comrade, regardless of how perhaps he occasionally exposes what perhaps he perceives as his shortcomings and shortfalls.
And no, I am not in anyway suggesting the PM is involved in buying Bequia land. I neither know such a thing nor have heard such a thing, not a whisper.
Patrick Ferrari is a somewhat fearless and clever fellow who knows pretty well “what is what” in most aspects of Vincentian life. I knew Patrick Hughes who was a great mentor of Ferrari and I believe Ferrari admired that man immensely. There was some link between the families. Wow what a great expose writer Mr. Hughes was. Patrick follows hard on his heels in his cleverly constructed articles, with hidden clues and innuendos, then even hard straight talk when he is really wound up about a subject, which is quite often. One quality I notice is, he doesn’t suffer fools easily. It’s straight from the hip journalism.
Well back to the brochure, the 100 per cent government owned limited liability company “National Properties” is selling in Bequia, land that is described as residential building land at US$4.20 (EC$11.34) at Crown Point and Friendship Heights, and US$6.50 (EC$17.55) at Spring. They say that the land comes with all the services adjacent to the plots, paved access roads, area drainage, electricity, telephone and cable, (no mention of water), and they say all the listed services are already in place.
A bargain in the scheme of things, except all the prime positioned plots are either reserved or have already been sold.
Don’t forget it’s much more expensive to build in Bequia than St. Vincent. There is no fresh running water and Bequians rely on large underground tanks under their houses to store captured roof water. Some of the areas being sold are pure solid rock, digging underground tanks will be a major engineering project, exceptionally expensive. And filling a fresh water pool could well mean bringing water from St. Vincent by tanker truck, quiet an expensive thing to do.
The brochure compares its prices with land in Barbados, you can completely disregard that, because it’s based on nonsense. Barbados is flat land, easy building land, easy engineering, and running water, not roof water. It could be that the prime Bequia lots, which I believe have been cherry picked, have superior views. But the inferior lots are second and third rate in the scheme of things. Remember most of the Bequia lots have rocks beside their closet piece of ocean, most of Barbados is superb white beach. Remember also in Bequia you are at the mercy of the Lord regarding hospital treatment, you could well die while trying to get treated. Barbados has superb world-class hospitals, even Ralph Gonsalves and his family are treated there occasionally.
I suppose they will say its all a matter of opinion, I say no its not, when its misleading information.
Buy a plot by all means, there will be great communities of people once development is complete. My advice is to fit solar electricity panels all over the roofs of what ever you build, and also include solar water heaters, because if you have a mortgage, you will never be able to pay it, if you rely on a VINLEC power supply and their fancy prices. There are plenty of Atlantic winds in Bequia, there are even quiet wind turbines that can be part of an overall package with the panels, to add to your freedom and independence from VINLEC.
There will be covenants attached to the land, an investigation of which should be explored before you commit yourselves. Beware develop the land or lose the land clauses, because maybe you want the land for your children or grand children.
You are encouraged to put down a 10 per cent deposit, but beware because it’s non-returnable, if you don’t complete, you lose it.
Be very careful and get a building engineers report on the land before you make any move whatsoever to buy Bequia land, even before you put down a deposit. Engineering in solid rock areas can be prohibitive financially. Site investigation by a qualified and licensed foreign engineer would be your best move, try offering a U.S. engineer a holiday in return for his fee. Whatever you do, don’t just buy off plan, go and walk the land, besides being rocky, some of it is of a steep gradient.
Lastly ask if the Argyle International Airport aircraft approach route is over or close to your prospective land plot, because some areas in Bequia could very well be blighted by aircraft noise on their final approach. Nothing worse than screaming engines overhead when you are lying by the pool. In fact ask for a written undertaking that your plot will not be so affected.
Perhaps to sell some of the lesser plots, the government should consider a deal of buy one and get one free, for first time buyer Bequians only, and exclude National Properties employees and ULP Government and their direct families from this offer. After all, it’s the Bequians that have made the sacrifice for the International Airport, it’s their future and their families which are most affected by the big sell off of the family jewels. It’s been done supposedly for the good of all Vincentians, at the expense of Bequians.
Perhaps if you look at some leaders in the ULP SVG Government and ask yourself “Would I buy a second hand car from that man?”, that could well help you make up your mind before parting with your cash.
I know who the cherry pickers are; I will expose them when the regime changes, to do so at the moment may be a futile exercise. Like some of our wonderful wild plant life in SVG, I believe they are currently a protected species.
Self-appointed keeper of the whistle
The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinions or editorial position of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].